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Quotable Wine Quotes of 2016

Quotes have relevance in a historical context because they tell us about the topics and controversies that are prevalent at a certain year in time. They also represent a gift that says plenty with few words. Here are the most notable quotes related to Pinot Noir and wine generally that captured my attention in 2016.

Regarding Pinot Noir:

“When Pinot producers get it right, the wines have it all: gorgeous aromatics, silky texture, bright acidity and supple tannins. What’s not to like?”..... Natasha Hughes, MW

“Many young Pinot Noirs have suffered with judges who didn’t understand them. Simple, fruity Pinot Noirs with no cellar potential often end up with gold medals, when far better wines that are just too young get silvers or bronzes. Given a little time in the bottle, they become far better than those that got gold medals.”.....Attribution lost

“There’s still a long way to go with too many Pinot Noirs; too many of my notes said something along the lines of ‘red wine not Pinot Noir,’ ‘lacks varietal definition,’ ‘too little characteristic perfume’....Those that scored poorly need to get the heat and hulking body out of the wine, get perfume, typical fruit, elegance and silky smooth texture in. Pinot Noir is such an exciting cultivar, and is doing great things in places such as Australia and New Zealand. The benchmark in the New World is so much higher than even just a decade ago.”.....Sally Easton, MW

“If an alien asked me: “What can Americans achieve? I’d sit him down with a glass of Eyrie Pinot and a copy of As I Lay Dying.”.....John Atkinson, MW

“Cabernet is big and boisterous and tannic. Pinot is complicated and sexy.”..... Anonymous winemaker

“Reduction was a problem (at Drinks Business Global Pinot Noir Masters tasting): I guess that winemakers, in their quest to preserve the fragile fruit aromas of Pinot Noir, are avoiding any oxidation, but have gone too far to the other extreme. As a result, so many of the wines were flat, tarry, rubbery and smoky on the nose; no oxidation but no Pinot Noir charm either.”.....Jonathan Pedley, MW

“Pinot is like the little girl who had a curl: when it is good, it is very, very good; when it is bad, it is horrid.”.....One of judges at Drinks Business Global Pinot Noir Masters tasting

“Pinot Noir is very hard to get right, particularly at the cheaper end of the price scale.”.....Jonathan Pedley, MW

“A great Pinot chases its own tail.”.....Actor Kurt Russell

“I think if you asked most people what’s the next best place outside of Burgundy that makes Pinot Noir, hopefully, it’s the Willamette Valley.”.....Steve Doerner, winemaker Cristom Vineyards

"I think I'm simply too much of a Burgundian at heart to be able to appreciate fully whether Pinot Noir in other guises can be considered to achieve greatness.".....Benjamin Lewin, MW

“I’m Doon with Noir.”.....Randall Grahm, winemaker

"There's a magic in Pinot Noir, it's a lifelong pursuit. While Cabernet is in front of grand homes, Pinot Noir is in peasant plots. Pinot Noir is of the earth. There's that part of Pinot Noir that is decay. There's a sort of fleetingness about it, there's a purity. It's refreshing. It's without clutter.".....Richard Sanford, Alma Rosa Winery

Regarding winemaking:

“At one extreme, winemakers are producing wines that are so sweet, alcoholic and oaky, that they lose their identity; sometimes it is even a struggle to identify which grape they are made from. At the other extreme, what I will appropriately call the Cult of Cold Climate in CA (CCCC) is both the antithesis and the consequence of the state’s fashion for excess in wine. Although the wines try to smell vaguely French, the mouthful is often weak and weedy, a consequence of picking too early and from fashionably cold sites....the siblings of Eurocentric and anti-New World snobbery. Under ripe is simply the new overripe, dressed up in today’s fashions.”.....Dominic Fenton

“Just as you can lose terroir from picking too late, you can lose it by picking too early.”.....Sasha Moorman, winemaker

“One of my personal pet peeves about oak in American winemaking is the confusticated heavyhandedness of it all. Too many wines rely on an superabundance of oak to cover a world of shortcomings without regard to any boundary between making wine and making oak tea. In my mind, if the first impression the consumer gets from your wine is the smell of oak, then you have failed as a winemaker.”.....Curtis Phillips, winemaker

“High alcohol level is an indicator of late picking and while it is possible to have a high alcohol red that still has fruit freshness, it usually means that the wine will have a sweet, jammy, dead fruit flavor.”.....Jamie Goode, wine writer

“Wine frequently tastes like the winemaker in somewhat the same way that dogs tend to resemble their owners.”.....Nick Wise, Linda Sunshine

“Making wine teaches you to be humble. You realize that you are not in control. You can’t compete with Mother Nature. It is best to collaborate.”.....Jake Lorenzo, winemaker

“There is no difference in quality due to differences in yield provided that the grapes reach the same level of maturity.”.....Mark Matthews, Terroir & Other Myths of Winegrowing

Regarding Wine Generally:

“The lightness and fineness of a Zalto’s form requires your attention when you pick it up, but the moment you put the glass to your lips, it seems to disappear. Suddenly there’s nothing between you and the wine. It’s the difference between listening to an MP3 and a 78-rpm record; the song is the same but the experience is richer, finer....amplified. When the wine is perfect, the experience is sublime.”.....Maggie Harrison, winemaker Antica Terra

“The brutal fact of the matter is that very few wine enthusiasts - and arguably, still fewer professional critics - have anything more than the sketchiest understanding of the connection between land and wine.”.....David Williams

“No two bottles of wine sealed with corks will perform identically over time, the difference is infinitesimal at first, progressively becoming more evident over time.”.....James Halliday

“There are 5 simple words that can be used indiscriminately and interchangeably such that no wine snob will ever look at you sideways. They are complex, balanced, layered, intense and well-rounded.”..... Don Dunn

“Clones, like prison inmates and race cars, have numbers instead of names.”.....Dan Dunn

“I would rather fall in love with a wine than find fault with it.”.....Dan McInerney

“In the last 20 years, wine collecting has become a rarified sport, fraught with testosterone-fueled auctions and scandalizing fraud.”.....Jon Bonné

“Wine journalism is an oxymoron, like ‘natural wine’ or ‘President Trump.’”.....Tim Atkin, MW

"If there is anything that can save objectivity in wine perception, it is that wine appreciation is largely learned rather than innate.".....Jamie Goode,The Taste of Red

“I’ve always been of the mind that wine needs to get over itself. I’m a huge fan, but as much as I love it, I often feel that the wine industry is its own worst enemy.”.....Sang Yoon, chef

“We are living in a fake time. The wines are boring, taste all the same, don’t age, and have lost the drinkability factor. It has become an industry.”.....Dirk Niepoort, Douro winemaker

“People want to drink wine and enjoy wine, but only a small percentage want to read about it.”.....Alder Yarrow, Vinography

“Wine is not ‘better’ because it is made according to some philosophy but rather because it tastes better. And taste does not belong to one philosophy, to one style, to one set of insiders. In its reliance on its own self-righteousness, In Pursuit of Balance (IPOB) became its own outsider. Its passing is well-deserved because IPOB lost sight of the real reason people drink wine. They find it enjoyable because it tastes good. I do not mourn its passing even as I salute the good that it has done. In that, IPOB will manage to outpoint Caesar.”.....Charles Olken, Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine

"While some influential critics still seem to favor wines of concentration, power and ripe fruit flavors, the next generation of sommeliers, writers, and influencers fortunately gravitate toward wines of place rather than wines of style. Ripeness remains the most important discussion in the world of wine.".....Jamie Goode

Regarding Somms:

“The thing that makes the sommeliers the most dangerous of the booze hipsters is their secret weapon, a twin instrument designed to destroy both your self esteem and your wallet: the wine list.”.....Dan Dunn

“Wine pairings are a great way to get ripped off.”.....Jill Zimorski, Alinea Group wine director

“More than anything, when I go to a restaurant, I want to be able to choose my own wine, even if the sommelier thinks he or she knows best what I should drink. That doesn’t mean I’m not open to suggestions. But I want the final choice to be, if not mine, at least a joint decision.”.....Lettie Teague

“Pinot Noir is a somm’s playground. If it’s heavy steak marbleization on the table, I’m going to look for a Pinot on my list that has structure and concentration. If it’s more lean, like a filet, I will go for a prettier expression of Pinot.”.....Jaimee Anderson, beverage director Wolfgang Puck steakhouse CUT

“Pleasure is not proportional to the price of wine.” Mark Oldman, sommelier

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